It took much persistence and passion. But now, after eight years in development, Têxteis Penedo is presenting at New York Home Fashions Market with its Cork-A-Tex innovation, developed to turn cork into fabric for home textiles. At its headquarters in Guimarães, Portugal, the company recently opened a new factory to produce sustainable home textiles made of 30 percent cork fibre and 70 percent cotton.

Portugal is the world’s leading producer of cork, a natural resource made from the bark of the Quercus suber tree, or cork tree. Cork is obtained by carefully removing it from the bark of the trunk, a process that does not harm or kill the tree. In addition to its traditional use for sealing bottles, cork has more recently expanded to women’s accessories like handbags and home goods like floor coverings and tableware.

Têxteis Penedo partnered with longtime cork product processing company Sedacor as well as textile technology non-profit Citeve and Porto University to develop its line. The new collection launches with decorative fabrics for curtains/drapery and other home accessories. The plan is to expand with more categories, like top of bed, Têxteis Penedo and Sedacor previewed its Cork-A-Tex program in May at Techtextil in Frankfurt, and were named a winner of the 2019 Innovation Award, in the “New Material” category.

As show organizer Messe Frankfurt noted in presenting the award: “Previously, cork-based textiles for apparel or home textiles have been relatively stiff. The new cork yarn is a flexible product made of a natural material and thus offers additional design opportunities for the fashion industry and interior furnishing.”